By Allison Schulz
Just days before It’s Me: Ross performs at KCOU’s Birthday Bash on Nov. 3, the local band’s frontman Ross Menefee sat down with KCOU’s Allison Schulz. Menefee talked about the band’s new album, his journey toward making genuine art and, most importantly, his alter ego as Professor Swag.
KCOU: How has the Columbia music scene influenced the way you personally make music?
Ross: The Columbia music scene has influenced me by simply just being immersed in it. There’s so much going on, it seems like. Especially me working as the sound man at Cafe Berlin, I really get to see a lot more than I normally would have otherwise. There’s a lot of punk stuff; there’s a lot of jazz stuff; there’s just a lot of new things happening lately more than ever, in my opinion, compared to the past 10 years. It’s nice to be in that.
KCOU: Why do you record all your own music?
Ross: I record music by myself because I’m kind of a control freak, and it’s also kind of a process for me. I’ll figure out each part at separate times just whenever I have time to do it.
KCOU: How did you choose the cover art for your new album, “C’est La Vie”?
Ross: It’s my friend Matt’s art. I just thought it was cool, and it was kind of one I had an eye on for a while.
KCOU: How have your past projects impacted your style now?
Ross: I used to play in this punk band, and I don’t know if the band influenced me as much as the scene did. I guess it kind of pushed me to be a little more experimental.
KCOU: How has It’s Me: Ross changed as a band over time?
Ross: I think it started a little more low-fi type beat; I think I was trying to be a little more punk. I think I’m being more genuine now, though, and I’m happy with it.
KCOU: Can you tell us a little bit about Professor Swag?
Ross: My story as Mr. Professor Swag started when I was watching Vaporwave videos on Youtube. One of the Youtube channels was called Professor Swag, and, you know, we have the infamous Instagram chat that everyone knows about and watches. Professor Swag is my internet persona created on Instagram approximately one month ago. You know, one day I decided I just don’t give a fuck, and I went all out on social media posting whatever I wanted. And since then, it’s felt good; thus, Professor Swag was born. I’ve started kind of a cult. My swag cult. All my disciples get A-pluses in the school of swag. That’s all I have to say about that.
KCOU: What’s your end goal for It’s Me: Ross?
Ross: Makin’ it big, baby.
You can catch It’s Me: Ross at Rose Music Hall Saturday, Nov. 3, at KCOU’s 45th Birthday Bash from 6 to 10 p.m. Tickets $5 at the door.
Edited by Elena K. Cruz